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Air space intrusion from Pakistan border: Crew of a Georgian flight heading to New Delhi being interrogated

FE Online
an 12

Post Balakot air strike, the Indian Air Force has been in a constant state of high alert. On Friday afternoon, a commercial heavy cargo AN-12 was escorted by two Indian SU-30 fighter planes after it entered the Indian flight space through Pakistan.

There have been several instances since Balakot air strikes which have put Indian air defences systems on high alert, as fighter planes of Pakistan Air Force have violated Indian airspace in retaliation, and targeting military establishments on the Indian side.

In an official statement issued by the Indian Air Force (IAF), An unknown aircraft entered Indian Air Space in North Gujarat Sector at 1515 hrs with its IFF (Identification, Friend or Foe) on . The aircraft did not follow the authorized Air Traffic Services (ATS) route and was not responding to Radio calls from Indian controlling agencies.

Since ATS routes in the area were closed due to the current geopolitical situation, and the aircraft entered Indian air space from an unscheduled point, the Air Defense interceptor on operational readiness was scrambled and vectored towards the unknown aircraft for investigation, the statement adds.

On visual contact, the aircraft was identified as Georgian An-12 flying at twenty seven thousand feet. The aircraft neither responded on international distress frequency nor to visual signals during interception. However, when challenged, the aircraft responded and informed that it was a non scheduled AN-12 aircraft that had got airborne from Tbilisi (Georgia) for Delhi via Karachi. The aircraft was shadowed and forced to land at Jaipur for necessary investigation.

Officials confirmed to Financial Express Online that a plane has been intercepted by a highly alert IAF and two fighter planes were sent to escort the AN-12 and was forced to land at Jaipur airfield where the crew was being interrogated as per the standard procedures.

Recently, the government had cleared a project to build hardened shelters for IAF fighter jets areas which are closer to the Pakistan and China borders. Also, it is expected that 110 missile-proof shelters will be constructed at forward bases where the IAF could station its frontline fighters.

In an effort to increase its fire power, the IAF is also carrying out tests to equip Su-30MKI fighters with Israeli SPICE-2000 guided bombs. It may be recalled that these bombs were dropped by Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft when Indian carried out raids on terror camps in Balakot.